NEW YORK (AP) — That’s it for Yankees-Astros this season.
At least until October.
Luis Severino struck out 11 in seven overpowering innings, beating longtime Yankees nemesis Dallas Keuchel for the second time this month as New York topped Houston 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Gary Sanchez snapped an 0-for-19 slump with a two-run single and the Yankees took two of three from the reigning World Series champions this week to win the season series 5-2. Houston defeated New York in the 2017 AL Championship Series, with the home team winning all seven games.
“Look, it’s great to go up against the best and have some success, no question about it,” first-year Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “But I would say it’s just a long season. I think both sides have a lot of confidence that, yeah, we have a chance to have special seasons.”
Dotting 98-99 mph fastballs to set up his wicked slider, Severino (8-1) allowed four hits — including Max Stassi’s two-run homer — and walked one in winning his sixth consecutive decision.
The ace right-hander, who hasn’t lost since April 10 at Boston, threw a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts for his first career complete game in a 4-0 victory over Keuchel at Houston on May 2.
“He’s elite for a reason and I think we saw why tonight,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “They’re a good team and you have to play well to beat them. And there are a couple of games here we should have beat them.”
David Robertson struck out two in a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman got three outs for his 12th save in 13 chances.
Stassi, subbing for injured catcher Brian McCann, hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth before Chapman fanned George Springer with a 102 mph fastball to end it.
“Hopefully, we’ll see each other in October,” Keuchel said.
After dominating the Yankees for years, Keuchel (3-7) dropped his third straight start against them — including the playoffs. The left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.
Keuchel entered 6-4 with a 1.82 ERA and two complete games in 10 outings against New York, including three postseason starts.
“He knows how to pitch,” said Yankees catcher Austin Romine, who scored twice. “Anytime you see someone a lot, you start to pick up on some tendencies.”
The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner walked two batters in the first inning, and center fielder Jake Marisnick made a diving catch on a sacrifice fly by slumping slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Sanchez rolled a two-run single through an open right side with two outs in the fifth to put the Yankees ahead 3-2.
“That pitch right there was a sinker outside and I just threw the bat at it. So I got lucky there,” Sanchez said through a translator.
Gleyber Torres doubled to start the sixth and scored from third on Didi Gregorius’ single past a drawn-in infield, chasing Keuchel. Aaron Hicks ended an 0-for-16 slide when he looped a two-out RBI double off Collin McHugh that got by a diving Marwin Gonzalez in left field.
“That’s just how it’s kind of going,” Keuchel said. “Tough breaks.”
Severino retired his first 11 batters, striking out seven of the first nine, before AL MVP Jose Altuve bounced a single through an open right side.
“We were cruising there for a little while,” Romine said.
New York (35-17), which has won 17 of its last 21 at home, matched a season high at 18 games above .500. The Yankees have won 10 of their past 11 series.
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